Review: The Grandmothers Grimm – Jenni Snell

Show: The Grandmothers Grimm
Venue: Paradise in the Vault
Stars: ****
Reviewer: Jenni Snell

Ever wondered where the Grimm brothers really got their tales from? Some Kind of Theatre’s hysterical adaptation of the well-loved fairy tales we all know so well, will open your mind to the lost voices of the voiceless, also known as women. Let them take you back to the study of Jacob and Wilhelm as their famous anthology is crafted and more than one thing is stolen.

With mischievous wit and a refreshingly mixed gendered cast, that literally gallop into the crowd, they play the roles of the various tales to which the Grimm Brothers owe their credibility. There’s more than a few genuine belly laughs to be had as you are guided through the probable tensions that the Grimm brothers would have had, exploring their personalities and humorous creative differences.

The cast have an evidently strong bond, naturally reflected in their performance style. I loved their ability to enact the three tales in their various derivative forms whilst exploring the discourse between the Grimm brothers and the voiceless women, championed by the character Marie and the maid, whom is decidedly nameless until the end. It takes truly strong and creative writing skills to be able to weave the repetitive tales into a humorous narrative whilst successfully maintaining audience engagement throughout. This play does not fail to keep you on the edge of your seat in anticipation of what fabrication the brothers will concoct next.

The humour builds into an intensity as we uncover the Grimm truth. Through Marie’s frustration the crude exclusion of the female creativity that went into these tales is made palpable. Not only are the women’s voices lost in the edits of the Grimm brother’s tale but the transformation of the female characters from strong and self-determined are tarnished into weak and helpless princesses, leaving tales of questionable moral messages for the female readers.

Though thoroughly entertained, the audience is left with provoking reflections. What other female voices have been lost through history? What versions of fairy-tales do we want for our sons and daughters? This show is laugh out loud funny and successfully highlights the societal invisibility of women’s voices in traditional stories. If you’re looking for an amusing, easy to watch, playful show, yet still crave some deeper discussion points for the pub afterwards, then this is your perfect pick!

The Grandmothers Grimm: tickets available here
Paradise in Augustines
10-17 August (not 11)
9.15pm (1 hour)

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